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Monday, September 9, 2002

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Epic Confirms In-House Port of Mac UT2003
1:00 PM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Following up this morning's earlier story on the status of Unreal Tournament 2003 for the Mac, IMG contacted Epic Games' vice president Mark Rein to confirm the Mac OS X port is being done in-house by the company. This is huge news for fans of the Unreal Tournament series, as well as those expecting to see it developed by a porting house like Westlake Interactive.

When asked about who will be develping the Mac client, Rein simply replied:

We're doing the port in-house. I don't have anything to report on the progress yet.
We expect to hear more from him in the very near future as to how the Mac version of Unreal Tournament 2003 is doing on OS X, so stay tuned to IMG.

IMG News: Mac UT2003 Really Underway?
Digital Extremes
Unreal Tournament 2003
Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

IMG Interviews GraphSim, New Game Coming
12:17 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

For the last year or so, GraphSim has been pretty quiet. After porting several titles to the Mac such as Red Faction and Summoner, the company virtually disappeared. So is GraphSim gone for good? Not by a long shot. As we found out in this interview, GraphSim has been busily working on a new game.

Here's a snippet from the interview:

IMG: GraphSim has been a bit quiet of late with no recent announcements. Can you please tell us what's up at GraphSim?

Morgan: Well, that's true we have been slower with releases this year simply because we haven't found any titles that we are interested in porting. We are, however, very busy working on the next release of F/A-18 Hornet.

To learn more about what GraphSim has been up to, be sure to check out the rest of the interview.

IMG Interviews GraphSim's Jeff Morgan

IMG Store: Baldur's Gate II, Icewind Dale for $29
12:11 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The IMG Store has dropped the price of MacPlay's Baldur's Gate II andIcewind Dale from $39 to $29, respectively.

Baldur's Gate II Shadows of Amn is set along the southern portion of the Sword Coast, a detailed and rich area of the Forgotten Realms called Amn. This region includes such varied environments as the Elven forests of Tethir, underwater cities, the Cloudpeak Mountains, cities of the Underdark, the Astral plane, the Abyss and the capital city of Amn, Athkatla. In addition to the main plot, Shadows of Amn includes over 100 sub-plots.

Icewind Dale is one of the largest computer dungeon adventures ever created for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Developed using the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules by the Black Isle team that brought you Baldur's Gate, Fallout & Fallout 2, and Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale features improved graphics for advanced 3D effects that will leave you spellbound. With a new interface and streamlined player control, there's nothing to stand between you and glory; nothing except for 70 types of new monsters and some of the most formidable combat you'll ever encounter.

Both items are in stock and available for order from the IMG Store.

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Bugdom 2 Goes Alpha
10:43 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Pangea's Brian Greenstone emailed IMG this morning to let us know that Bugdom 2 has gone alpha, the first major milestone towards completing the game. Bugdom 2 has been in development since early this year and based on Greenstone's estimates, should be shipping sometime late this year.

Greenstone offered the following on the game going alpha:

I just wanted to send out an informal press released letting you all know that our latest game, Bugdom 2, has gone Alpha! All of the levels are done and everything is working, so we'll be spending the next month completing the audio and replacing some temporary art with the real thing. We're on schedule to ship before November 1st.

All signs indicate that Bugdom 2 is going to be a huge hit since half of the Bugdom 1 tech support emails have notes in them like "we can't wait for Bugdom 2". We've sold over 30,000 retail units of Bugdom 1, and there were over 4,000,000 bundled copies on the iMac and iBook, so the installed base is ripe for a hit!

Greenstone also sent us four new screenshots of the new game. Be sure to check them out at the links below.

Pangea Software
Bugdom 2
Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
Screenshot 3
Screenshot 4
Buy Bugdom 2

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Mac UT2003 Really Underway?
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Epic Games' vice president Mark Rein made another post to the Infogrames messageboards, discussing the possibility of Mac and Linux ports for Unreal Tournament 2003. While many users (and some news sites) are taking the post to mean the Mac version of the game is "just underway," Westlake Interactive president Glenda Adams --who has ported nearly every Unreal-based game to the Mac-- has a different interpretation of Rein's statement.

In the past Rein has called the possibility of a Mac port likely, but there has yet to be any official announcement. Here is his most recent post, which responds to a reader's question about the Linux port of the game:

Linux is now up and running pretty well. I've been told that we should be able to release the Linux client and server executables around the same time as the windows version ships. Official tech support isn't provided for the Linux versions. Currently Linux will only work well with Nvidia cards - apparently ATI's OpenGL Linux and Mac drivers don't support texture compression. Hopefully this is something they will soon fix. Mac development is just underway so it will still be a little while before it's done.
The confusion arises over whether Rein is referring to the ATI drivers' support for texture compression being "underway" for the Mac or actually the title itself. Adams, who would obviously know if Westlake was working on a port of Unreal Tournament 2003, posted to the IMG forums, cautioning against getting hopes too high just yet:
Before everyone goes too crazy, I'd re-read Mark's post. It sounds to me like he is saying the ATI Mac drivers that support texture compression are just underway, not UT2k3 Mac itself.
Later in the thread she also responds:
Maybe so, but it's certainly news to me as a humble Mac developer that anyone is working on UT 2k3 yet.
IMG has contacted Rein for clarification on the subject, and we will keep you posted of any new word made available.

For more information on the lack of texture compression under OS X, ATI driver guru Chris Bentley provided IMG with word that they are expecting the feature to be included in a future update to Mac OS X. Here's what Bentley had to say:

All the Radeon cards up to and including the Radeon 8500, and 9000 support GL_ARB_texture_compression, and that support has been there since early in 10.1.x. MacOS X 10.1.x and 10.2 do not support GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc. As a result this form of compression is not yet supported on any cards in MacOS X.  We are adding this support for an upcoming release, so games that depend on this extension will run fine with that release.  I believe the situation is the same for all cards on Mac OS X.
Not only will this help potential games like Unreal Tournament 2003, but also Everquest and other large 3D titles which rely on the technology. Stay tuned to IMG for more word on this story as it becomes available.

Mark Rein Post on Linux Support for Unreal Tournament 2003
IMG Forum: UT2003 for Mac Confirmed?
IMG News: Unreal Tournament 2003 'Likely' for OS X
Digital Extremes
Unreal Tournament 2003
Buy Unreal Tournament 2003

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Geneforge OS X, Galactic Core Updates
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Spiderweb Software has released updates to two of their titles. The first, Geneforge for OS X, has been updated with a new public beta. Those interested in previewing the beta are asked to send bug reports to Spiderweb indicating that this is the 9/4/02 version.

The second title to receive an update is Galactic Core, which is now at version 1.0.3. The update fixes a few minor problems:

• Fixed a problem with protecting a ship within an scenario.
• Fixed a problem with accessing the 8th mission when creating your own scenario.
Spiderweb notes that those who haven't had problems with earlier versions probably don't need the update.

For those unfamiliar with the titles, Geneforge is an isometric RPG that features an open-ended quest and the ability to create one's own monsters. Galactic Core is a spacefaring title that pits six different species against each other in a game of universal domination.

More information on these titles, as well as the updates, can be found at Spiderweb's site.

Spiderweb Software - What's New
Spiderweb Software

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GarageGames Announces License Changes
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GarageGames, owners of the indie developer-friendly Torque game engine, have recently announced a change in their Licensing Agreement that makes things even easier for smaller developers. Simply put, the agreement no longer requires licensees to publish their content through GarageGames or their site. As President Jeff Tunnell puts it, "Now Indies will be able to publish their games on their own site with no royalty requirements from GarageGames."

Discussing the recent move in more detail, GameSpy grilled Tunnell with various questions concerning the new agreement. Besides noting that GarageGames will continue to act as a portal for other games and developers, he adds that the restructuring is more accomodating not only for those with smaller niche markets, such as Christian game groups, but could also pull in mod makers:

GameSpy: Do you think that this new agreement will encourage hobbyist and indie developers to use the Torque engine?

Jeff: Actually, I think this move will bring in more of the serious indie developers. Hobbyists don't care where their game ends up, and don't think they will ever complete a marketable game. Serious indies or mod teams that want to step up to making a real game instead of a mod, and think they have the right stuff to publish their game through their own means will be very happy with these new terms. The feedback we've received from teams evaluating Torque tells us that this is one of the only concerns they had and this should make it an easy decision to build games on TGE.

The current agreement requires that developers must be making less than $500,000 in order to qualify for the $100-per-programmer licensing deal. New details are currently being scripted out for those that make over this amount. In a recent online chat, Tunnell also discusses the situation of a developer currently qualifying for the less-than-500k mark suddenly jumps over the line:
Once your company goes above $500K in revenue or you sign with a big publisher, then the $10,000 fee kicks in. So, you can get the engine for $100 per programmer, create a demo or a game, and know that you only have to pay $10,000, no royalties, for the technology once you sign your deal. Or, the other scenario, is that you use the low price engine to create your game and start your own company. The engine is nearly free as you are getting started and money is tight. Then, if you succeed, you kick the $10,000 back to GarageGames, i.e. if you are successful, we are successful.
This new agreement has been remarked upon by various developers as bold, innovative, and very exciting. As the engine is cross-platform capable, hopefully we'll start seeing more Mac games developed from the Torque engine hitting the market. In the meantime, reference the links below for more information on the restructured agreement.

GarageGames Announces Restructuring of License Agreement
GameSpy - Turning Down The Torque
Realm Wars Comunity Chat 0.3.0

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Feral: Theme Park Hits OS X, F1 Delay
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

The Feral Interactive web site was updated over the weekend with news from this UK-based publisher that Sim Theme Park (also called 'Theme Park World') has been Carbonized for OS X, while their anticipated racer, F1 Championship will be slightly delayed beyond its original September release date.

The patch for owners of Sim Theme Park weighs in at just under 3MB and features support for both OS X 10.1.5 and 10.2, as well as OS 9. Along with OS X support, the update fixes a number of bugs in the original title and adds FSAA (full-scene anti-aliasing) for those with the right video cards:

The game engine has been upgraded by adding hardware acceleration and nVidia card support. Also FSAA (Full Screen Anti-Aliasing) support for certain graphics cards has been added. The game also runs significantly faster and with more stability than before.
No word yet on an updated demo, but the new application should run with the old demo data files for now.

F1 Championship fans may be dismayed at news of another delay in the title's release, but Feral assures us this is for quality control purposes and compatibility with OS X 10.2:

We have decided to delay the release of F1 Championship Season 2000 by a month - the new release date is October the 18th. While this news does not endear us to anyone who has been eagerly waiting on this game - extra patience should pay dividends. The additional month is allowing the developers to apply significant further optimization (speed to you and me) and also to incorporate some extra features that have become available with Apple’s release of OS X 10.2 “Jaguar”.

We hope that you will agree the delay was worth it when you see the release.

Check out new screenshots of the game available now on the Feral web site as well.

Feral Interactive
Sim Theme Park
Bullfrog Productions

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Icewind Dale Ready for 10.2
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Publisher MacPlay has quietly released an update to their D&D-based RPG Icewind Dale. The patch, which brings the title up to version 1.0.1, basically adds support for Apple's recently released OS 10.2, allowing those currently enjoying Jaguar to get their game on in the frozen wastes of the Dale.

Those interested in downloading the update, which is sized at around 5 MB, can find it at either MacGameFiles or at MacPlay's support site.

Icewind Dale is a spinoff from the popular Baldur's Gate series that concentrates more on the dungeon crawling experience than on story development. More information can be found in IMG's review of this title.

MGF - Icewind Dale 1.0.1
IMG - Icewind Dale Review
Contraband Entertainment
Icewind Dale
Buy Icewind Dale

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Neverwinter Interview
6:00 AM | Galen Wiley | Comment on this story

Neverwinter Vault, a Neverwinter Nights fansite has posted a recent interview with Bioware writer/designer Aidan Scanlan to talk about the company's latest RPG Neverwinter Nights. The rather lengthy interview covers mainly past and present issues, including anything from fan communities and modules to reflections on the game itself. Here is a sneak peak of what's inside:

RBB: I love the game, and am trying to move part of my PnP game to it. But it seems like the official campaign might be a tad under-challenging. How would you rate or change the encounter system, in terms of how it measures PC and monster capabilities?

I'd like to give an example of that. I would like to see a particular setting on what counts on the player's side for spawning an encounter. The reason being is we ran into a problem during testing that certain encounters would spawn huge, usually powerful, groups of monsters, where a similar encounter somewhere else wouldn't. That's because at the time what the encounter was scanning for were people hostile to the encounter. So we had an encounter area right next to a set of guards. So a first level guy would walk through, it would take all those guards into account, and spawn the encounter. We've since changed it so the encounter spawns only for the person triggering it and their party members.

What I would like to see in hindsight is a setting on the encounter to say what it encompasses—whether or not I want those guards in there. Or whether I want just the person, or [the person and] his party, etc.

You can find out more information in the full interview. Mac users can look forward to playing Neverwinter Night later this year, courtesy of MacSoft.

Interview with Aidan Scanlan
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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MOO3 Status Update
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Apolyton spotted a recent post by Quicksilver Software art director Rantz Hoseley to the Master of Orion III forums, providing a status update on this latest in their series of strategy games. Hoseley notes the team is in the final stretch with the title, and they expect it to be complete --assuming no delays with publishing the title by Infogrames-- in a matter of "days or weeks," not months.

Master of Orion III looks to take the previous two games in the series and improve upon them while still keeping the same spirit their many fans enjoy. New features include 16 different playable species, larger galaxies based on the Milky Way, and much less micro-management necessary (only if the player doesn't want it). The game was originally schedule for release early this year, but Quicksilver and Infogrames decided to revamp when they had in order to make sure game was meeting expectations.

Here's a clip from Hoseley's first post on what they're into now:

This is the final stretch for us, which means a LOT of late nights, a lot of balancing, testing, bug fixing. Thank goodness for the invention of caffeine. We are still plugging away on MOO III harder than ever. It's very close now (no, I cannot give you a street date though, sorry) and we are eager to get it to you as soon as we can while still making sure it's everything it should be in terms of bugs and balance.
Later in the thread, he defends their decision to not give a specific release date. As with most game projects, even if the developer is done, there are many other factors to consider in a game's release:
a.) we believe we know when we will be done, give or take a week or so.

b.) We don't set release dates, same as we don't do box art and we don't arrange press interviews. That's all in IGs hands, and we don't comment because we don't honestly know.

c.) We're not going to announce when *we* (QS) will be done, because there are things that may get added or changed which would move the date by a few days...

we're talking days and weeks here folk, not months. Sorry if that isn't enough for the cassandras and the naysayers and those who'd like to fill empty space with worst case scenarios, but that's the truth.

For more on Master of Orion III, be sure to have a look at the official web site. The Mac version of the game is being developed in-house by Quicksilver and will be published by MacSoft later this year.

Master of Orion III: Brief Status Report
Master of Orion III
Quicksilver Software
Buy Master of Orion III

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WWIIOnline Mac Patch Posted
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Cornered Rat has released an update for the Mac pre-release test of World War II Online. Version 1.6.60d is available as a full download of 98MB or as a 2.2MB patch for those with the previous client (v1.6.60c) already installed.

For those wanting to play this free beta test of the massively multiplayer online war sim, grab the full installer and sign up at the official web site for an account. One very valuable resource for Mac testers is their Mac-specific forum, which players should post to with crash logs and any other issues with the OS X client. Here are instructions with how you can help:

When posting in this forum use the following format for the subject line:
"Version Number / Bug Type"
The version number can be found by using "Get Info" on the application. Also be sure to include any Console logs that result from a crash. This is the most important feedback we can get.
Head over now to the World War II Online site and download the update if you don't already have it.

World War II Online Mac Pre-Release Test
World War II Online Mac Forum
Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online
Download War War II Online 1.6.60d Update (2.2MB)

Mac Games News for Friday, September 6, 2002

MacDX Site Updated2:26 PM
IMG Reviews Jinni Zeala1:34 PM
Titan Launches Rage Hard Web Site1:05 PM
New Ghost Recon Screenshots12:45 PM
Ambrosia Updates Escape Velocity: Nova10:26 AM
Alchemy, Bejeweled Demos from MacPlay9:18 AM
Sin 1.1.3 Update Released9:07 AM
Feel Custer's Payne8:40 AM
Apple Analyzes AvP26:00 AM
Mac Tenebrae Quake Beta Underway6:00 AM
New Lineage II Screenshots6:00 AM
Shadowbane Hands-on Preview6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, September 6, 2002 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Thursday, September 5, 2002
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